History of the Sciences: Preparing Students for Life
She was the first person in her family to go to college. Her mother was an immigrant from Mexico, and with the help of an aunt, she raised the girl in San Francisco after her birth. Her mother was not sure she could afford college for her daughter, but the University of San Francisco put together a financial aid package that included institutional aid, federal Pell grants, work study, and subsidized loans, making it possible for Sonia Lomeli to pursue her dream of earning a university degree and preparing for medical school. While at USF, Sonia excelled in all of her classes, both in the sciences and the non-sciences. She was so respected by her science faculty that they made her a teaching assistant in her senior year. The day her stellar Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores arrived at the office of Alan Ziajka, then USF’s Pre-Professional Health Committee chair, he ran to the Harney Science Center where Sonia was teaching to give her the wonderful news. Through tears of joy, Sonia shouted, “I am going to medical school!” Sonia graduated from USF in December of 1997, and in the fall of 1998, she did indeed enroll in one of the most prestigious medical schools in the nation, the UCSF School of Medicine. Sonia Lomeli Bonifacio, M.D., is now a physician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, specializing in neonatal–perinatal medicine, and is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UCSF Medical Center. She is married with two children. Dreams can come true.
Sonia Lomeli Bonifacio, M.D., graduated from USF in 1997, received her medical degree from the UCSF School of Medicine, and is currently a physician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, specializing in neonatal–perinatal medicine. She is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UCSF Medical Center. UCSF SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Edward Chow, M.D., graduated from USF in 1959. He obtained his medical degree from Saint Louis University School of Medicine and has served as the executive director of the Chinese Community Health Care Association and as a San Francisco health commissioner. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES
Michael Collins, M.D., earned his master’s degree from USF in 1971 and his medical degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He is Chief of General Thoracic Surgery at the Intermountain Medical Center and LDS Hospital and Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine. INTERMOUNTAIN PHYSICIAN
Dr. Errol Lobo obtained his bachelor’s degree from USF and went on to earn both an M.D. and a Ph.D. He is currently professor and vice chair in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at the UCSF School of Medicine. Dr. Lobo is also a board member of the non-governmental organization, Operation Rainbow, which provides pediatric-orthopedic care to children in developing countries. UCSF PROFILES
Among USF’s living alumni there are more than 400 physicians, 165 dentists, 160 scientists, and 890 computer scientists. Other USF alumni who went to medical school and became physicians include Dr. Edward Chow (’59), a San Francisco internist who served as the executive director of the Chinese Community Health Care Association and a San Francisco health commissioner. In 1991, Dr. Chow was one of three recipients of the Pope John XXIII Service Award for outstanding contributions to the Chinese community based on a commitment to volunteerism, youth, and education. Dr. Collin Quock (’61) is a cardiologist in San Francisco. He received his medical degree from the UCSF School of Medicine and has been a practicing physician for almost 50 years. Dr. Joseph Fanucchi (’68) received his medical degree from Creighton University, founded the Department of Occupational Health Services at Creighton Saint Joseph Hospital in Omaha, and became the medical director of Occupational Health Systems, Inc. He is currently the president and medical director of MediTrax/Occupational Health Systems, Inc. Dr. Michael Collins (MS ’71) is Chief of General Thoracic Surgery at the Intermountain Medical Center and LDS Hospital, and is a Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine. His main research interest is in thoracic surgical oncology, and he has published several articles in that medical specialization. In 1996, Dr. Collins was selected as alumnus of the year by USF’s Health Professions Society. Dr. Errol Lobo (’77) obtained both an M.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of California San Francisco, after graduating from USF. He is currently professor and vice chair in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at the UCSF School of Medicine. Dr. Lobo is also a board member of the non-governmental organization, Operation Rainbow, which provides pediatric-orthopedic care to children in developing countries. Professor Lobo has numerous publications to his credit.Dr. Joseph Woo (’87) is the Emergency Department Director at Chinese Hospital in San Francisco, where he has been practicing since finishing his residency at UC Davis Medical School. He is also a former Chief of the Chinese Medical Staff and is deeply involved in rectifying Asian health disparities.
Many current physicians received their undergraduate science degrees from USF within the past 20 years. Dr. Sal Fazio (’93) earned his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine and is an internist in San Francisco. Dr. Alene Wright (’94) earned her medical degree from the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, where she is a general surgeon specializing in breast surgery as well as the program director for the general surgery residency program in Trinity, Florida. Dr. Felix Adler (’96), an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, earned his medical degree from Yale University, obtained a fellowship in neuroradiology at UCSF, and currently serves as medical director of the nuclear medicine division at Marin General Hospital. Dr. Dennis Song (’96) completed his medical degree at UC Davis, his dental degree at UCSF, and his residency at UCSF in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He is in private practice in San Francisco, an associate clinical professor at UCSF, and a staff surgeon at California Pacific Medical Center and St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco. Dr. Jody Stonehocker (’96) completed her medical degree at the UCSF School of Medicine. She is currently an obstetrician–gynecologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and an assistant professor in the OB/Gyn department in the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Mario Pineda (’97) went to the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he earned both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology. He completed his OB/GYN residency at the University of Southern California and his gynecologic oncology fellowship at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he continued on as a faculty member. He has published six peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and six book chapters. Dr. Jonathan Manaoat (’97) was a double-major in biology and psychology at USF, earned his medical degree from the UCSF School of Medicine, and following a residency at CMPC in San Francisco in general adult psychiatry, became a forensic psychiatrist. Dr. Rachel (Bahr) Kyler (’98) obtained her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and is currently an anesthesiologist in San Luis Obispo, California, where she is affiliated with numerous hospitals in that city. Dr. William Discepolo (MS ’98) was a paramedic before coming to USF. He earned his M.D. from UC Davis Medical School, held a fellowship in cardiovascular disease, and is currently a cardiologist in Los Angeles, affiliated with numerous hospitals. Dr. Bill Metaxas (’98) earned his Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, completed a podiatric medical and surgical residency at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, New York, and is now a podiatric surgeon in San Francisco. He is the president of the San Francisco and San Mateo Podiatric Medical Association and has presented his research on the latest surgical technologies for foot and ankle surgery at national and international conferences. Dr. Zack Vaughn (’99), a former captain of the USF soccer team and of the U.S. Western Regional Soccer Team, is an orthopedic surgeon who received his medical degree from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Stanford University and is one of the team physicians for the San Francisco 49ers and the head team physician for the NBA Golden State Warriors. Dr. David Hiroshima (’99) obtained his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and is a family physician with the Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, where he integrates Western and Eastern approaches to treating patients. Dr. Kara-Marie Hack Delaney (’00) is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist with the Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of childhood cancers and blood diseases. Dr. Brian Dennis (’01) received his medical degree from the UCSF School of Medicine and is an anesthesiologist in Mountain View, California. Dr. Patricia Rae Castillo (’05) received her medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and is a pediatrician in Los Angeles.
William Discepolo, M.D., earned his master’s degree in biology from USF in 1998. He later obtained his medical degree from UC Davis Medical School and is now a cardiologist in Los Angeles. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES
Dr. Dennis Song, class of 1996, completed his medical degree at UC Davis Medical School, his dental degree at the UCSF School of Dentistry, and his residency at UCSF in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He is in private practice in San Francisco, an associate clinical professor at UCSF, and a staff surgeon at California Pacific Medical Center and St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco. SONG ORAL SURGERY
Dr. Felix Adler graduated from USF in 1996. He earned his medical degree from Yale University, obtained a fellowship in neuroradiology at the UCSF School of Medicine, and currently serves as medical director of the nuclear medicine division at Marin General Hospital. CALIFORNIA ADVANCED IMAGING MEDICAL ASSOCIATES
Dr. Arthur Dugoni (’47) became a practicing dentist, a professor of dentistry at the University of the Pacific, and dean of that university’s dental school. One of the most respected figures in the dental profession, he served as president of the American Dental Association, the American Association of Dental Schools, the American Board of Orthodontics, and the California Dental Association. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in science from USF, he has an honorary bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University, where he completed his officer candidate school training during World War II. He earned an M.S. from the University of Washington and a D.D.S from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which later became the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. During his career, he received numerous awards and honors, presented approximately 1,000 professional papers and essays, and published more than 175 articles. In 1998, he was elected to the prestigious FDI World Dental Federation List of Honor, which is limited to 30 individuals worldwide. In 2004, Dr. Dugoni became the only individual in the United States to have a dental school named in his honor while still holding the position of dean.
Arthur Dugoni graduated from USF in 1947, received his dental training at the College of Physicians and Surgeons (University of the Pacific School of Dentistry), and became an award-winning and much-published professor and dean of that dental school, which was renamed in his honor as the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC ARTHUR A. DUGONI SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY
Dr. Julia Hallisy (’84), a San Francisco dentist, received her Doctorate in Dental Surgery from the UCSF School of Dentistry and has been active since the late 1990s in patient advocacy issues, healthcare reform, patient safety, and medical error reduction. She has spoken at various professional and legislative forums on health-related ethical topics and is the founding president of the Empowered Patient Coalition, an organization that works to give patients a voice in healthcare solutions. Other San Francisco practicing dentists who received their undergraduate science degrees from USF include Dr. Fred Fendler (’70), Dr. Marites (Panis) Escarpe (’96), and Dr. Hibert Hailu (’97). Dr. Andrew Dela Rama (’00) was a clinical professor at the UCSF School of Dentistry and now has a dental practice in Daly City. Dr. Yelena Ostrovsky (’97) served as a preclinical instructor at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry before starting her own dental practice. Dr. Katherine Vo (’00) is a practicing dentist and assistant clinical professor at the UCSF School of Dentistry. Dr. Charles Sackett (’00) earned his dental degree from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and is a pediatric dentist and an adjunct assistant professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Dr. Anisha Kahai (’04) served on the faculty at the same school as Dr. Sackett and also has a dental practice in San Francisco.
Dr. Charles Sackett, a graduate of USF in 2000, earned his dental degree from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and is a pediatric dentist in San Francisco and an adjunct assistant professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. CENTRAL COAST PEDIATRIC DENTAL GROUP
USF science graduates have pursued other healthcare professions as well. Ronald Ruggiero ('65) received his Doctor of Pharmacy from UCSF in 1969. He joined the faculty at the UCSF Medical Center in 1970, where he served as a Clinical Professor of Pharmacy and Medicine and Pharmacist Specialist in Women's Health, establishing an interdisciplinary teaching site in the OB/GYN National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, which gained him national recognition for his expertise in the management of the pharmacotherapeutics of women. Francis Kong (MS’95) earned his Doctorate of Medicine from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and has balanced healthcare with collegiate mentorship. He served as a lead strategic consultant to Christus Health, one of the largest Catholic healthcare providers in the nation, helping to guide that company’s innovations in technology and business. Kong has presented papers at the California Medical Association, given presentations before the White House Panel for Health Information, and has been a keynote speaker at various national conferences. Kong is a founding member of MedSimple, a medical application development company and consulting service for biotech and pharmaceutical companies. He is also a founding member of EdgeOnCollege, a national university-level mentorship program, through which he has mentored thousands of students of various majors enrolled in schools across the nation.
Ken Pitetti, USF class of 1968, has been a professor of physical therapy in the College of Health Professions at Wichita State University for more than 25 years. He has published numerous articles in national and international journals on exercise rehabilitation, endurance training for people with disabilities, and exercise management for individuals with chronic diseases and disabilities. He has received several teaching and research awards for his work and has developed exercise curricula for disabled school children. WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY
There are currently 427 college professors who have undergraduate or graduate degrees from USF. Professors who earned undergraduate science degrees from USF include Sun-viu Fung (’57), professor of physics emeritus at the University of California, Riverside, who specializes in high-energy particle physics; he chaired the physics department at that university, has published widely, and received a special award for achievement and service. Leo Harrington (’68), professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, publishes on recursion theory, model theory, and set theory, and is known in his field for the Paris-Harrington theorem. Ken Pitetti (’68), a professor of physical therapy in the College of Health Professions at Wichita State University for more than 25 years, is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, whose loss of a leg during the war inspired him to specialize in exercise rehabilitation, endurance training for people with disabilities, and exercise management for individuals with chronic diseases and disabilities. He has published numerous articles in national and international journals, received several teaching and research awards for his work, and developed exercise curricula for disabled school children. Ken is also an inductee of the USF Athletic Hall of Fame for football. Patricia Ellsworth (’70) is an assistant research professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and Environmental Engineering at Northern Arizona University. She earned her Ph.D. in freshwater biology from the University of Colorado, before launching an academic career that has included publications and presentations on air quality, environmental protection, and Native American tribal programs. Mike Erlinger (’67) is a professor of computer science at Harvey Mudd College. His research focuses on computer science, high-speed networking, network security, and K–12 computer science education. Ellena Peterson (’71) obtained her Ph.D. from Georgetown University in microbiology and immunology and is a professor of pathology and associate dean of admissions and outreach at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Dr. Peterson has published more than 20 articles in her research areas, which include the development of rapid procedures for the detection of clinically relevant pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi, especially sexually transmitted pathogens. Danny Zivi Chen (’85) is a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame. After obtaining bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mathematics from USF, he earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Purdue University, West Lafayette. He has published more than 280 journal and conference papers on topics such as algorithm design and analysis, computational geometry, computational biomedicine, parallel computing, and data mining. He holds five U.S. patents and has received numerous teaching and research awards and honors, including the NSF CAREER Award in 1996 and IEEE Fellow in 2014. Christina Tzagarakis-Foster (’90) is an associate professor of biology at USF (see vignette #30).
For its entire history, the University of San Francisco has prepared students to succeed in their chosen professions and to serve as healthcare providers, teachers, mentors, and active participants in improving the world. The institution’s current Vision, Mission, and Values Statement perhaps says it best: “The University offers undergraduate, graduate and professional students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as persons and professionals, and the values and sensitivity necessary to be men and women for others.”
Much of the information about USF’s recent science graduates is housed in the office of Alan Ziajka, associate vice provost for academic affairs, university historian, and former chair of the Pre-Professional Health Committee (PPHC), who also conducted interviews with many of the USF alumni described in this vignette. Mary Jane Niles, professor of biology and current chair of the PPHC, and Gary Stevens, professor of biology and founder of the PPHC, also supplied valuable information about USF’s science alumni. Statistics regarding the number of USF alumni who became physicians, dentists, pharmacists, scientists, and college professors were furnished by Kristopher Young, USF’s director of advancement services, university advancement, and Meg Burley, information specialist, advancement services. The 2011 and 2005 editions of the USF Alumni Directorywere also critical sources of information, as were the institutional websites of the professionals portrayed in this vignette.
Alan Ziajka, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and University Historian